How Will USC Disburse Revenue Sharing?

USC will opt into revenue-sharing model proposed in House v. NCAA settlement

If the landmark settlement is approved in a district court, USC could begin diverting a significant portion of athletic revenue in direct payments to its athletes

Quarterback Jake Jensen #17 of USC Trojans during a USC spring football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 20, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)
QB Jake Jensen #17  during the USC spring game at the L.A Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, April 20, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

Luca Evans (OC Register —  In late April, speaking at an event hosted by USC’s NIL collective House of Victory, Lincoln Riley told a room full of donors that he made the decision to come from Oklahoma to USC three years ago in part because few schools in the country were better positioned to capitalize on the changes across the college sports landscape.

But in the three years since, Riley has often had no choice but to play fundraiser in addition to head coach, as USC has faced an at-times rocky journey with its foray into the NIL space. This spring, sandwiched between admissions that NIL awareness at USC had taken major leaps since he’d arrived, Riley told reporters that support last year had been “OK” and “great outside of, kind of, the whole collective world.”

“I mean, our guys were able to, obviously being in L.A., our guys probably get more outside deals than anybody in the country,” Riley said in March. “Which is awesome, but we need the support to be right there with it too, from our donors and from our collectives.”

The grand elevation of USC as a true NIL powerhouse, however, could come with May’s settlement in the House v. NCAA case, which will establish an optional model for schools to share a sizable percentage of their annual revenue with athletes. Suddenly, rather than relying on tax-deductible donations through House of Victory to entice recruits, USC could streamline donations through the athletic department and distribute a piece of total revenue – about 22% in the first year of the settlement, projected to be more than $20 million – directly among its athletes.

On Friday, a spokesperson confirmed to the Southern California News Group that USC would adopt the revenue sharing model, assuming the settlement is approved in district court and proceeds as proposed.

“We’re exploring all options regarding revenue sharing, and there are many questions to answer,” the spokesperson wrote, “but it’s safe to say under the current landscape that we will opt in to revenue sharing.”

It would be a monumental development in USC’s athletic future, establishing a foundation of primary income for athletes while allowing the school’s collectives to focus on brokering sponsorship deals as supplementary NIL earnings. But as the spokesperson indicated, USC’s decision to opt in would bring just as many questions as answers.

Here’s a breakdown of the major topics that will arise with USC’s adoption of revenue sharing, a host of conversations that will continue to position the university squarely at the center of the widespread national change within college sports.

How, exactly, would revenue sharing work for USC?

The goal for the revenue sharing model put forth in the settlement, as explained by lawyer Steve Berman – part of the prosecution in the House case and other antitrust suits against the NCAA – would be to establish a free market of competition among athletic departments. No rules. No regulations.

It’s really up to each school and how they want to compete for athletes,” Berman told the Southern California News Group. “So, maybe some school thinks that they want to have the best football program and they’re going to spend all their 22% on football. Maybe some other school thinks, wants to spend more on football, less on golf.”

Essentially, as presently constructed, it would be up to USC to decide how to distribute that 22% revenue share among its athletic programs. There are two directions of thought that schools could fall under within that system, as professed by Jim Cavale, founder of Athletes.com, a college athletics players’ association. A department could decide to focus revenue sharing payments primarily to athletes in revenue generating sports: football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Or, mindful of Title IX-related issues that could arise by prioritizing certain sports, a school could decide to distribute the revenue evenly across athletes in each of its NCAA programs.

USC had roughly 550 athletes participate in NCAA sports in 2023. According to the most recent publicly available data compiled by USA Today, the average Big Ten school made $157 million in revenue in 2022; a 22% share of that would be about $34.5 million. For simplicity’s sake, if USC made $157 million in the first year of the revenue sharing model and decided to split it perfectly evenly among its 550 athletes, each athlete would receive about $63,000.

It’s unlikely, of course, that USC would split payments perfectly evenly. Regardless, athletes could expect sizable payments under the revenue sharing system.

Caught in the crossfire of student-athlete employment

At the same time, USC would opt into this revenue sharing plan, the university has been fighting a case against the National Labor Relations Board for months, the NLRB arguing USC athletes – and those within the Pac-12 and the NCAA, by proxy – should be classified as employees.

It’s a massive piece in a continued conversation over athlete employment, which could completely shatter the NCAA’s longstanding definition of amateurism and allow athletes to organize unions and collectively bargain with their universities. And within hearings held intermittently since December, the NLRB’s argument has often centered around the “payment” athletes receive for their services in the form of scholarships, similar to how employees are compensated for their services. Lawyers for USC, conversely, have countered with the overarching argument that payment is structured around educational pursuits.

The hearings are over. The House settlement can’t be entered into record in the case. But from a broader lens, experts that spoke with the Southern California News Group agree the revenue sharing model only strengthens the argument that student-athletes should be deemed employees. And USC opting into the revenue-sharing model – establishing a direct form of payment to players for their athletic endeavors – would stand as a direct counter to much of the university’s argument through the proceedings.

“Assuming that the settlement, similar to what has been leaked in the media, does come about, I think some of the arguments we heard in the NLRB case are further exposed as just false,” said Ramogi Huma, founder of the National College Players Association, the charging party in the NLRB-USC case.

So, what happens to House of Victory and USC’s NIL collectives?

The revenue sharing model doesn’t mean university donor collectives are a thing of the past. For universities with the funding to support both revenue sharing and a collective, Cavale said, that donor money could simply become the “icing on the cake.”

As such, House of Victory could simply continue to operate in its current form, a nonprofit that solicits donor funds through tax-deductible donations and distributes them to athletes in the form of deals with the collective. However, it’s also possible USC could begin encouraging donors to donate directly to the athletic department to fund revenue sharing. In that scenario, House of Victory could shift into a for-profit model, hired by USC to operate like a marketing agency that could solicit third-party deals around USC athletes’ names, images and likenesses.

“We’re moving forward with our current process, our current structure,” executive director Spencer Harris told the Southern California News Group this spring, “but with the understanding that we have to be prepared to evolve and change.”

ocregister.com

___________

TrojanDailyBlog members —  We always encourage you to add factual information, insight, divergent opinions, or new topics to the TDB that don’t necessarily pertain to any particular moderator post or member comment.

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Jamaica
Noble Genius
Jamaica
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June 25, 2024 8:49 pm

Watching Tuesday’s Inside The Trojan Huddle with Arledge, Kulkin & McKinney really is enlightening in to see if your personal thinking is close to theirs on USC football. Their views really make sense and give a perspective that you can’t really argue with. We are fortunate this podcast is USC football oriented.

Jamaica
Noble Genius
Jamaica
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June 24, 2024 11:07 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Saw all her races. The announcers were not impressed with her preliminary and were surprised at her semi race victory. But they still didn’t give her much chance for the final and up to the end of the race they were rooting on two other runners. Kendall showed them alright she is a competitor and has a will to win like few others. She needs to definitely be the anchor for the 4X400 relay team in Paris or it will be wasting talent.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 24, 2024 5:19 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Congrats to Kendall Ellis for winning the 400 m race in a fast time. Sensations. Both of these boys are amazing and da future of American T & F.   Christian Miller, 18 years old, Florida came in a strong 5th place 100 m = 9.98 Unreal. On the small side, 5-8, 150 lbs He will go to Paris, USA will take the top 6 place finishers for the 4 x 100 relay team.   Quincy Wilson, 16 years old, Maryland, 5-9, 155 lbs ran an amazing 44.59 400 m, he’s in da finals. I predict he will come in 5th and go… Read more »

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 25, 2024 12:28 pm
Reply to  Canyon

6-24-24   Athing Mu stubbled & fell down in the 800 m finals at around the 300 yds mark. She got up and tried to catch the group but gave up. My heart goes out to her. Saw the tape about 5 times, no one bumped her. AM was maneuvering her position and bumped into another runner, simply her legs gave out and lost her balance. Terrible and tragic. She was favored to win a medal at Paris.   In the 2023 World’s, Athing almost fell. AT ankles gave out (slight twist), no one bumped her as well. I think AM needs to get stronger lower… Read more »

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 30, 2024 8:57 am
Reply to  Canyon

Key USA Olympic Trials, T & F results.   Men’s 100m 1. Noah Lyles — 9.83 2. Kenny Bednarek — 9.87 3. Fred Kerley — 9.88 4. Christian Coleman — 9.93 5. Christian Miller — 9.98 6. Courtney Lindsey — 10.02 7. Brandon Hicklin — 10.03 8. Kendal Williams — 10.04   This is a very strong group. Noah & Kenny should medal in Paris. The top 6 will go to Paris. 4-6 are needed for the 4 x 100 relays. If they baton pass well, da USA should win Gold in da relays.   Women’s 100m 1. Sha’Carri Richardson —… Read more »

Jamaica
Noble Genius
Jamaica
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June 30, 2024 1:08 pm
Reply to  Canyon

Watching women’s Gymnastics yesterday and I really question the honesty in the judges scoring not being preconceived or showing favoritism. Even having the thought the committee wants certain “popular” athletes on the team for specific reasons. Any gymnast should get scoring they deserve and when a favorite screws up, they should get deducted in scoring like the 10th place person. Doesn’t appear this happens on a regular basis. Maybe in the trials, non- partial judges from outside should be brought in.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 30, 2024 9:19 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

Yeah don’t know how gymnastics judges figure out scores, it’s complex. From what the announcers said, it’s not just event scores dat will determine who makes the team from the selection committee. Factors as international experience, composure, results in recent competition will play a role in their decision.    Bummer, 3 top gymnasts were injured and did not compete at the trials. These girls were heavy favorites to make the team of 5 + 2 reserves, Skye Blakely, Kayla DiCello and Shilese Jones got injured 1st day of trials. With them, team USA were heavy favorites to take the team Gold. I still think the… Read more »

TrojanRon
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TrojanRon
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June 25, 2024 1:19 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I will never forget her final leg in 2018 to win the NCAA title for USC. Whenever I feel down and behind, I replay her incredible feat and it always gives me inspiration. Congratulations Kendall for making the Paris Olympics team. I look forward to watching the 400m and the 4x400m relay. The Olympics should be starting in about a month from now.

Canyon
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Canyon
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July 1, 2024 8:09 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Note: USA, female 400 m hurdles Champ and World record holder Sidney Mclaughlin holds the best/fastest 400 m time at 48.5 and 200 m 22.0. Insane. Dam, Sidney would be da best at 400 m and maybe even 200 m. Superb athlete.

In da 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the coaches put her in the 4 x 400 m relays as da anchor leg. USA won da race = Gold. Count on it, in Paris like in Tokyo, da coaches will put SM in the 4 x 400 relay as anchor.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 24, 2024 9:05 am

USC and most of the top FB programs had a big recruiting weekend, 6-21-24 to 6-23-24. I’ve been searching all over the internet; USC did not get a new commitment. At one time, there were 20 recruits scheduled but only 13 came including 5 committed players. Dat’s not good.   Even Oregon who hosted 26 elite players did not get one new verbal. Looks like players are making notes who the highest bidder are?  If I ran a FB program NIL collective, I would not pay da Big Bucks for 5* players. I would pay and go after 4* to 3* types. These players would be… Read more »

Jamaica
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Jamaica
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June 24, 2024 11:25 am
Reply to  Canyon

Canyon I am not caring that about commitments in June. They just don’t mean much especially to 4& 5 star athletes who most are going to promote their wares “playing the field” in getting attention. We are talking about 17 &18 year olds who mostly have had everything given to them up to now. Asking them to make a commitment and sticking to it in advance? Not in their limited vocabulary. Now if USC was a Georgia-like winner, I would think a commitment might hold better in the long run. But even then those bags might mean too much to… Read more »

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 25, 2024 5:02 am
Reply to  Jamaica

Bruddah Jamaica, True dat, agree with everything you said. Big bags of $1, NIL and the TP have killed college FB. HS & TP players are in it for the Moola, nothing else. The student athlete is no more, they are Pro’s. Heck, why even give them a scholarship?

College FB is the NFL minor league. Sad… Cheers.

RialtoTrojan
Noble Genius
RialtoTrojan
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June 23, 2024 10:32 am

I’m not sure how student athletes become employees but it brings up some interesting possibilities. As an educational employee I had to worry about getting tenure or on the flip side non reelection. So this could be the new way of the transfer portal use seeing non reelected football employees moving from school to school. As a condition of employment students would be expected to advance educationally but how many one year contracts should a student get? If employees have to sign an NDA would that cover their feelings about the training and treatment on their team? Will the high… Read more »

Jamaica
Noble Genius
Jamaica
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June 23, 2024 11:26 am
Reply to  RialtoTrojan

This will also force coaching staffs to really scout players to catch the ones who will try to play the system for all they can get. Carol Folt, Jen Cohen and Lincoln Riley better have a clear understand USC will not be a fool in contracting players who are not serious about their responsibility & expectation in being a student athlete as an employee if all this comes to that.

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 23, 2024 10:08 am

USA Swimming & Diving Olympic Trials, 6-15-24 to 6-23-24, Indianapolis, Indiana   The men’s and women’s teams are gonna be strong once again. Every Olympics da USA wins da most medals due to shear depth of A+ swimmers, which dominates da relay events. The USA swimming programs from juniors, college and pro’s are tops in world. Most of the top international swimmers train in da the USA.   Other countries dat have strong swim programs and swimmers: Australia 2nd best, Great Britain, China-cheaters drugs, Canada, Japan.   Here are USA swimmers dat should win medals.   Women.   Katie Kedecky, 200 FS, 400 FS,… Read more »

Canyon
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Canyon
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June 23, 2024 4:39 pm
Reply to  Canyon

Correction, my bad typo error. Katie Ledecky.
 
China-cheaters, wide spread doping by their swimmers to enhance their conditioning and performance. Shame on the International Sports Federation-ISF, they’ve known China’s doping practice for 8 years or 2 Olympics ago and has done sheet about it. You know China is slipping mucho cash under da table to these fools. Blatant corruption. This is da part of da Olympics I despise… Cheers

Golden Trojan
Major Genius
June 22, 2024 9:31 am

According to CollegeFactual.com (the only source I could find) USC has 726 student athletes. I believe the House settlement stated schools can pay up to $21 million to athletes. That is an average of $29,000 at USC. There will likely be Title IX and NLRB lawsuits. Does every athlete have to be paid the same? Are seniors paid more than freshmen? Are only revenue sports required to be paid? Are starters paid more than bench warmers? I would think to avoid being tied up in the courts forever, just pay every man and woman the same, just added to their… Read more »

Steveg
Noble Genius
Steveg
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June 22, 2024 1:39 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

It will take a few years to get this thing straightened out. Lawsuits will be flying out of the colleges for every reason possible. This is free money, watch for ads on tv for guys who will fight for you.

Golden Trojan
Major Genius
June 22, 2024 1:41 pm
Reply to  Steveg

Women field hockey and lacrosse bench players UNITE!

Jamaica
Noble Genius
Jamaica
Offline
June 22, 2024 3:21 pm
Reply to  Steveg

This is beautiful Steveg, instead of driving down the 605 (or any other freeway for that matter) seeing billboards of lawyers advertising for accidental victims, you will soon see “call me if you are a HS athlete ready to make your easy millions?”

Canyon
Genius Member
Canyon
Offline
June 22, 2024 8:07 am

Elite 11 QB Camp Final Rankings.

JuJu Lewis ended up #7, respectable. If he de-commits, C.LR must go after the Hawaiian QB who ended up #11. The coaches raved about him. They said he is as talented as the top QB’s. Da Ohio St commit took #1 spot. Dam, Ohio St has da best QB unit in nation; they will have 4 five stars QB on roster, crazy. I’m sure someone will enter the TP?

https://247sports.com/longformarticle/2024-elite-11-finals-final-ranking-of-the-top-11-qbs-tavien-st-clair-keelon-russell-husan-longstreet-deuce-knight-ryan-montgomery-233075194/#2436111

Golden Trojan
Major Genius
June 22, 2024 9:33 am
Reply to  Canyon

Was LR and/or ACs there? I would hope so if allowed. As we have seen before some of these guys may end up a Malachi Nelson and some will be first round draft picks. LR has had more home runs than strike outs.

volunteerTrojan
Noble Genius
June 22, 2024 7:08 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Bah, his predictive success is no better than any other talking head. There’s one way to shut him up though…

2manyyears
Genius Member
2manyyears
Offline
June 23, 2024 7:29 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Gentlemen please do not get your shorts in a knot over what Paul Finebaum says. He is an SEC honk who pledged loyalty to the dark lord, Nick Saban, years ago and has been his mouth piece for years. He went to school at Tennessee and yet if you look at his history (try Wikipedia) all of his big “success” has been writing about Alabama. Never says much about his alma mater. Seems telling to me. He hates anything not SEC. He has also said repeatedly that Ryan Day’s job is in trouble after what Michigan has done the past… Read more »

Golden Trojan
Major Genius
June 23, 2024 8:37 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Not sure what Nebraska is doing there, other than that that is good company to be in. People just hate it when some one else has success. Hoping USC makes it back onto a top 10 that really matters.

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